Washington, D.C.—Oct. 24
For the last two years Sima Morgello and Zopala have come to the Washington International and narrowly missed out on a blue ribbon. They started out this year’s show the same way, placing second in her first two classes. But in today’s $7,500 low junior/amateur-owner jumper classic Zopala and Morgello nailed an inside turn to finish more than a second faster than Francesca Dildabanian and Catika van de Helle.
“From the wall to the double people were leaving out and doing five strides,” said Morgello, who commutes from The Bronx, New York City, to River Run Farm in Long Valley, N.J., to train with Devin Ryan. “She’s such a small horse that we decided to go inside and add in six, which made landing a lot more rideable.
“She’s a little bit unconventional,” she continued. “She looks like a pony and she goes in a hackamore. She really has her own style. She loves to go uphill with her head up and out. I had to learn to ride her in that way, and she’s very different from my other horse I have here. She’s a lot of work, but she gives me so much work back into it, so it’s worth it.”
Morgello especially loves the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood’s penchant for whinnying before her first class. At the Verizon Center she called out while on deck before each trip.
“It’s a little comforting to me,” said Morgello. “I think, ‘Oh, she’s ready now.’ ”
The blue in today’s classic boosted Zopala and her 19-year-old rider, to the division title ahead of Taegan Long and Pollux de Shalimar, who won earlier this week. The tricolor tasted especially sweet as this is Morgello’s last show with Zopala, who will go on to another adult rider temporarily as Morgello focuses on the high division.
“I scared my mom when I told her that my kids would ride her one day,” said Morgello. “But she’s going to go to new home and teach a new student for a year. I love her so much I could never let her go.”
Goetzmann Finishes Strong
Madison Goetzmann wrapped up her week in Washington in style, winning the high junior jumper championship aboard Wrigley.
She placed third in today’s $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, which combined with sixth- and first-place ribbons to secure the championship. Today’s classic winners, Katherine Strauss and All In, claimed the reserve title.
“My horse has been amazing this week and I love competing here,” said Goetzmann, 15. “It feels amazing. I’m always finishing the round with a smile on my face because the fans here and the locals come and cheer you on, and I’m just really proud of my horse.
“This is my first time doing the high juniors here and it really gave myself and my horse confidence for next week and I’m really excited to have this under my belt,” she continued. “She always wants to jump clear and I really love her; she’s great.”
Goetzmann, Skaneateles, N.Y., paired up with Wrigley, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, at the beginning of this season. When they clicked and had great results at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) she bought the mare for herself.
They’ll head to the National (Ky.) next, then she’s hoping to graduate to the under-25 grand prix classes next season.